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Home :: Archive :: 2005 :: February ::
Greenblatt Discussion Forum
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 16.0318  Wednesday, 16 February 2005

[1]     From:   Peter Bridgman <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 15 Feb 2005 16:48:13 -0000
        Subj:   Re: SHK 16.0306 Greenblatt Discussion Forum

[2]     From:   Bill Lloyd <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 15 Feb 2005 12:38:29 EST
        Subj:   Re: SHK 16.0306 Greenblatt Discussion Forum

[3]     From:   Todd Lidh <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 15 Feb 2005 14:48:24 -0500
        Subj:   RE: SHK 16.0306 Greenblatt Discussion Forum


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Peter Bridgman <
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Date:           Tuesday, 15 Feb 2005 16:48:13 -0000
Subject: 16.0306 Greenblatt Discussion Forum
Comment:        Re: SHK 16.0306 Greenblatt Discussion Forum

David Basch writes ...

 >Peter Bridgman insists that because "there is not the faintest
 >evidence for such a community in Stratford," it was not there.
 >Did he ever hear of James Wilmot who 150 years after Shakespeare's
 >death made a careful search of evidence of the poet in Stratford.
 >He was obviously impressed by what he found. In fact, he found
 >it so shocking that he had all that he had found burned after
 >his death.

David Basch is clutching at straws.  James Wilmot's burnt papers
contained no evidence for young Will Shakespeare's Talmud classes.  The
papers were arguments for Francis Bacon as author of the works.

The Rev. Wilmot came to Warwickshire to take up the post of rector at
Barton-on-the-Heath, 14 miles to the south of Stratford.  A member of
the London literary scene, he scoured Stratford for relics of the Bard.
  Since the huge New Place residence had been demolished, all Wilmot
found was the birthplace, which locals told him had been a butcher's
shop.  Wilmot searched all the private libraries within a 50 mile radius
but couldn't find a single book owned by WS, nor any letter written by
him.  He came to the conclusion that the humble butcher's son could not
have written the works and proposed Francis Bacon, first Baron Verulam
and Viscount St Albans, as the likely author.  As to why the vicar
destroyed, rather than publish, this "shocking" thesis, I quote from Ian
Wilson's book ...

"In his old age Wilmot freely discussed his musings with those who
called at his rectory.  But he declined to publish them, not least
because Stratford-upon-Avon, just up the road, was already developing
its own Shakespeare tourist industry, and he could not bear to upset
those of his friends and neighbours already involved with this trade.
Accordingly, shortly before his eightieth birthday he ordered all his
papers to be burnt".

Peter Bridgman

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Bill Lloyd <
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Date:           Tuesday, 15 Feb 2005 12:38:29 EST
Subject: 16.0306 Greenblatt Discussion Forum
Comment:        Re: SHK 16.0306 Greenblatt Discussion Forum

Hmmmm... David Basch suspects that the Friedmans, authors of *The
Shakespearean Ciphers Examined* would accept his cipher where they had
deconstructed all the others they encountered. Though I haven't read the
book recently, I recall one of its morals to be that investigators
seeking hidden messages in texts invariably find what they are looking
for. I suspect (though I haven't the time to perform the exercise) that
if David or anyone else were to seek for Hebraisms and Kabbalistic codes
hidden in the works of Spenser, Bacon, Jonson, Fletcher and Taylor the
Water-Poet, they would in due course be detected.

I don't have a problem with Shakespeare being Jewish or knowing Hebrew,
per se; but relying on the fact that no one can prove it *wasn't* the
case isn't much of an argument. If I were to argue that Shakespeare was
the last of a proto-Celtic cult who had gone underground after the
destruction of the Druidical religious center on the Isle of Anglesey,
and that he transmitted encoded messages to the groundlings in
neo-Pictish, could anyone PROVE I was wrong? Dare ya.

Bill Lloyd

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Todd Lidh <
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Date:           Tuesday, 15 Feb 2005 14:48:24 -0500
Subject: 16.0306 Greenblatt Discussion Forum
Comment:        RE: SHK 16.0306 Greenblatt Discussion Forum

David Basch writes: "The more familiar one is with such material in the
original, the more one is impressed by its unarguable presence."

I do not know Mr. Basch, and I can certainly respect the passion with
which he writes. I am even pleased that, unlike a few other discussions
in this forum, he presents his argument with what appears to be
supporting evidence.

This being said, I can't help but react to his above quote with no small
amount of skepticism. As has been pointed out ad nauseum in past
decades, scholars and critics so often see themselves in the works they
are to "scholar" or critique, and Mr. Basch's statement seems to me to
be an explicit example of this phenomenon in action.

While I'm not actually disputing Shakespeare's Hebraic
influence/knowledge/connection-largely because I am functionally
illiterate (did someone say Anne Hathaway?) on the issue-I hesitate to
bow on humble knee when the stance of such an argument is couched in
terms as these.

Perhaps Mr. Basch did not mean what I am inferring, that his decade-long
study on Shakespeare and Talmudic references has essentially "enabled"
him to see precisely what he's been looking for 10 years, but I have
read so many other efforts to explain Shakespeare, God, weather or other
ideas/objects impossible to know which ultimately stand as a reflection
of the speaker and what that person sees as the key to understanding.

I appreciate Mr. Basch's effort to educate his fellow Shakespeare
colleagues; I feel on some level I have learned far more about Mr.
Basch, however, than about Shakespeare.

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